Open source virtual machine for windows 10

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More information…

VirtualBox is a powerful x86 and AMD64/Intel64 virtualization product for enterprise as well as home use. Not only is VirtualBox an extremely feature rich, high performance product for enterprise customers, it is also the only professional solution that is freely available as Open Source Software under the terms of the GNU General Public License (GPL) version 3. See “About VirtualBox” for an introduction.

Presently, VirtualBox runs on Windows, Linux, macOS, and Solaris hosts and supports a large number of guest operating systems including but not limited to Windows (NT 4.0, 2000, XP, Server 2003, Vista, Windows 7, Windows 8, Windows 10), DOS/Windows 3.x, Linux (2.4, 2.6, 3.x and 4.x), Solaris and OpenSolaris, OS/2, and OpenBSD.

VirtualBox is being actively developed with frequent releases and has an ever growing list of features, supported guest operating systems and platforms it runs on. VirtualBox is a community effort backed by a dedicated company: everyone is encouraged to contribute while Oracle ensures the product always meets professional quality criteria.


Hot picks:

  • Pre-built virtual machines for developers at


    Oracle Tech Network

  • Hyperbox Open-source Virtual Infrastructure Manager


    project site

  • phpVirtualBox AJAX web interface


    project site

Virtual machines are useful for a whole raft of use cases, both personal and professional, and better still there are good ways to build virtual machines without having to pay for any software. While the best enterprise solutions will come with associated license costs, for the home user there’s absolutely no need to spend a penny but still have a good virtual machine experience on Windows. The following are what we consider the best free virtual machines.

Best overall: VMware Workstation Player

Why you can trust Windows Central Our expert reviewers spend hours testing and comparing products and services so you can choose the best for you. Find out more about how we test.

Vmware Workstation Player

Source: Windows Central

(Image credit: Source: Windows Central)

VMware Workstation Player

Free and feature-packed

Free at VMware

(opens in new tab)

Reasons to buy


Free for personal use


GPU virtualization


Easy to use


Reasonably low hardware requirements

Reasons to avoid

Cannot run multiple VMs in the free version

Some useful features hidden behind the paywall

You’ve probably heard of VMware and you probably assume it comes with some fairly hefty price attached. That isn’t totally untrue, but it’s far from being true. VMware Workstation Player is a completely free-to-use version of its desktop VM software, Workstation Pro. There are differences between the two, and there are some useful features, like snapshots, hidden behind the paid version. But for the most part, it’s basically the same.

Perhaps surprisingly, VMware Workstation Player also doesn’t command particularly high-end hardware to run. Naturally, the more resources you have, the better your VMs will run, but even on a lower-spec machine, you’re not excluded. You may run into some compatibility issues on some hardware if you’re trying to virtualize Windows (nested virtualization), but it’s still absolutely possible, alongside any Linux distribution you can think of.

Workstation Player also provides additional tools like GPU virtualization, USB pass-through, and the VMware Tools plugins allow you to seamlessly shut down and suspend VMs without having to have them open. At its heart, VMware Workstation Player is really easy to use, with some more advanced features if you want to dive a bit deeper. Performance is also really good, though one of the limitations of the free version is that you can only have one VM running at a time.

Runner-up: Oracle VirtualBox


Source: Windows Central

(Image credit: Source: Windows Central)

Oracle VirtualBox

Open-source VMs for all

Free at VirtualBox

(opens in new tab)

Reasons to buy


Free and open-source


Good performance


Supports basically everything


Official extension for USB pass-through and RDP

Reasons to avoid

Dated UI

VM setup could be cleaner

Oracle’s VirtualBox is open-source and it works on even old versions of Windows should you be clinging to some ancient hardware. Performance-wise in our use, it’s not quite on par with VMware, which is why it takes a runner-up spot, but for many, it will definitely be a better choice.

Nothing is hidden behind a paywall and Oracle still supports VirtualBox even to this day. If you spin up VMs often, it’s a solid tool to have in your arsenal, supporting both Windows and Linux VMs (only Mac users can install a Mac VM in VirtualBox.)

Oracle also supplies a range of pre-built virtual machines targeted at developers and there’s an official plugin pack that adds some useful extras like USB pass-through, RDP, and disk encryption. It’s a shame it looks a little dated, and sometimes it feels like setting up a VM takes a few steps too many. But you can’t argue with the quality, especially when it will always be completely free.

Integrated solution: Microsoft Hyper-V


Source: Windows Central

(Image credit: Source: Windows Central)

Microsoft Hyper-V

Basic but built right into Windows

Included in Windows

(opens in new tab)

Reasons to buy


Integrated into Windows 10 and 11


Easy to use


Solid support for Linux VMs

Reasons to avoid

Requires Pro or Windows Server editions

Basic feature set

If you’re in need of a simple solution and you’d rather not tinker with additional software, there is of course Hyper-V, which is built into Windows 10 and Windows 11. Or it is if you’re using the Pro version or Windows Server. Unfortunately on Windows 10 Home and Windows 11 Home you simply cannot use Hyper-V.

That’s probably the biggest negative, in that it’s hidden (sort of) behind a paywall. But while Hyper-V is fairly basic, it’s user-friendly, and assuming you’re not looking for advanced features like GPU acceleration, it’s a perfectly good tool to use.

Guest OS support extends to Windows, Windows Server, and Linux, and while you might run into some compatibility issues with some Linux distros, on the whole you can expect to have a good experience.

Bottom line

For the more intensive VM user, going with VMware Workstation Player is a smart call. Even though there are some limitations in the free version, none of the core functionality is hidden behind a paywall, and ultimately, if you end up needing more you have the upgrade option available.

VirtualBox isn’t quite as good on the whole, but for most people will be just right, and Oracle’s continued support, as well as the open-source nature of the product, is admirable. It could certainly use a lick of paint, though.

Hyper-V is arguably the weakest of the bunch, but it’s integrated in (some versions of) Windows and for quick, basic VM use, it’s perfectly fine. Whichever you go with, you can run alternative operating systems with ease, and without cost.

A Virtual Machine (VM) is a software environment that emulates a computer system. It facilitates a substitute for a real machine. They mimic computer architectures and offer the same functionality as a physical computer. Virtualization Manager is a virtual machine monitoring and management tool that helps you to optimize performance issues. This tool supports varieties of software like VMware, Microsoft Hyper-V, and Nutanix AHV.

Following is a handpicked list of Top Virtual Machines Software for Windows, Mac, and Linux with its download links. The list contains open-source (free) and commercial (paid) software.

Top Pick

Virtualization Manager Virtualization Manager

Virtualization Manager is a virtual machine monitoring and management tool that helps you to optimize performance issues. This tool supports varieties of software like VMware, Microsoft Hyper-V, and Nutanix AHV.

Visit Virtualization Manager

Top VM Software Download for Windows, Linux & Mac

Best for all types of organization, big or small. It is easy to deploy.

Virtualization Manager is a virtual machine monitoring and management tool that helps you optimize performance issues. This tool supports various software like VMware, Microsoft Hyper-V, and Nutanix AHV. It provides multi-hypervisor remediation and alerting in a single pane of glass. With its AppStack™ dashboard, you can automatically plot the relation between servers, hosts, applications, and data stores.



  • Manage virtual machines across hybrid, cloud, and on-premises.
  • It provides an entirely sleek and customizable dashboard. Its drag and drop widgets allow you to create your dashboard as per your needs.
  • It offers VMware log monitoring that can speed up troubleshooting.
  • The application can be integrated with the Hyper-V environment.
  • You can monitor the performance of Nutanix AHV.
  • Through VMsprawl and rightsizing, you can save virtual resources.
  • It provides predictive recommendations.
  • It efficiently decreases MTTR.
  • Supported Platforms: Windows.

👍 Pros👎 ConsProvides detailed storage information and performance statistics.It can be expensive.Sends alerts.Customizable dashboards.

Free Trial: 30-Days fully-functional trial.

Visit Virtualization Man.

30-Days fully-functional trial

Best for its easy-to-use interface.

VM Monitor is a tool that continuously checks your Microsoft Hyper-V host and VMware vSphere in real time. It allows you to view CPU, memory usage, and the number of configured or running VMs.



  • Offers monitoring virtualization server.
  • It helps you to prevent the degradation of performance by viewing threshold-specific indicators.
  • It allows you to terminate powered-off VMs and VM snapshots, which are over-extending your resources.
  • You can see details like VM name, VM state, and guest OS.
  • With VM monitoring, you can quickly point out the root cause of the issues.
  • It sends you notifications about the issues with performance and availability.
  • Supported platforms: Windows

👍 Pros👎 ConsWith up to 50 monitors accessible, you can keep an eye on your VMware ESXi hosts.It is only a Windows-based solution.Keeps checking your VM hosts’ critical metrics, including CPU, memory, and disc use.Rebooting the server can be automated.It quickly monitors the problems.

Free trial: 30- Day fully-functional trial.

Visit VM Monitor >>

30-Day fully-functional trial

Best for app developers, powerful users, and IT security admins.

VMware Fusion for Mac is Virtual Machine software. This tool is known for cloud computing and virtualization software. It allows you to use multiple applications on different OS simultaneously. Fusion also offers the facility of integration with many development tools.

VMware Fusion


  • It offers the best Desktop Hypervisor, Run Virtual machines, and Kubernetes clusters from Mac.
  • Allows you to modify virtual networking topology and also to simulate packet loss.
  • The Guest tool offers enhanced 3D graphics with 8GB vGPU support and DirectX 11.
  • You can connect with VMware vSphere. vSphere provides a cloud-based platform for virtualization.
  • Unity View Mode feature allows you to use multiple OSs sides by the side in your Virtual Machines such as Windows and Mac.
  • Offers drag and drop file sharing facility
  • With the help of this virtualization machine, you can use Windows, Linux, NetWare, Solaris, and many other OS on your Mac.
  • Supported platforms: Intel Mac models that support macOS 10.15 Catalina and newer versions.

👍 Pros👎 ConsNo registration is required for the trial.It is quite complex software, which requires more knowledge to use it.Allows you to run Windows side-by-side with Mac.It supports a high-resolution Display, i.e., 4K/5K.

Free trial: 30-Day free trial.

Visit VMware Fusion

30-Day free trial

Best for its speed and easy interface.

Parallels is the fastest, easiest, and virtual desktop application for running Windows or Mac devices without the need to reboot. It allows you to deploy hundreds of installations in no time with Parallels. Using Parallels, you can easily run several Windows apps like Internet Explorer, Microsoft Office, Access, Quicken, QuickBooks, and even CAD programs without compromising their performance.



  • Gets information like usage statistics and real-time licensing activities.
  • It allows you to enroll new users in a few clicks through automatically generated emails.
  • This Virtual machine works seamlessly to run Windows side by side on the Mac and switch between Mac and Windows with a single click.
  • You can run more than 200,000 Windows apps on your Mac.
  • Allows you to seamlessly move and share contents between Windows and Mac.
  • It offers you a feature like Coherence Mode, using which you can hide the Windows desktop and use it in the same way as you do with Mac apps.
  • Supported Platforms: Works with Windows 11, 10, 8.1, and 7, Linux, macOS*, and more.

👍 Pros👎 ConsEasy to set up.The Mac device gets heated up while using Parallels.It is lightning fast.It saves your disk space.It gives you instant access, that is, launch and access Windows applications right from the Mac Dock.

Free trial: A 14-Day fully functional free trial.

Visit Parallels >>

14-Day fully functional free trial

Best for its feature-rich system and is free.

VMware workstation player is a system specially developed for IT professionals and developers. By choosing VMware Workstation players as your Virtual machine, you will be able to share files and data seamlessly between guests and hosts. It also allows you to connect to vSphere, which will act as the remote data center for your hypervisor. It is the best way to learn about Virtualization, Operating Systems, Containers, Kubernetes, or the VMware ecosystem.



  • It allows you to keep different privacy settings and network configurations for another virtual PC.
  • It Supports 200+ Windows instances.
  • The Snapshot feature allows you to create multiple instances of the virtual machine, and also, you can set several rollback points during the testing process.
  • Supports operation alongside Hyper-V, WSL2, Device Guard, and Credential Guard features of Windows 10.
  • Allows you to run Windows XP or Windows 7 in a virtual environment on modern hardware.
  • You can choose from hundreds of support guests and host OS.
  • It helps you transform data to and from the virtual machine to your PC.
  • You can purchase its license to run in a commercial environment.
  • Supported Platforms: Compatible with most 64-bit Windows and Linux Host operating systems: Windows 10, Windows Server 2012, Windows Server 2016, Windows Server 2019, Windows 8, Ubuntu, Red Hat Enterprise Linux, CentOS, Oracle Linux, OpenSUSE, SUSE Linux Enterprise Server.

👍 Pros👎 ConsYou can easily switch from SSH to Linux.Some features are only available for the paid version.It offers enhanced 3D graphics to DirectX11, up to 8GB of vGPU Memory.The free application runs slower with every host you add to the virtual machine.Allows you to push, pull, run, and build OCI container images with the latest vctl CLI.Easy to use interfaceFree for personal use.

Free trial: Free Download

Visit VMware >>

Free Download

Best for its ability to create virtual environments for Windows 10 and Windows servers for free.

Hyper-V, earlier known as Windows Server Virtualization. It is a hypervisor designed to create virtual machines on x86-64 systems. A server computer that runs on Hyper-V can be configured to expose individual virtual machines to one or more networks. It supported multiple operating systems, including Windows, Linux, and Free BSD.



  • It allows you to do hardware virtualization.
  • Hyper-V supports a cloud-based platform.
  • It offers support for many versions of Linux.
  • It helps you to run multiple virtual machines.
  • Offers you a snapshot feature using which you can clone several versions of VM in a secured environment for future use.
  • It offers a Virtual Switch tool, which allows you to employ resource tracking and view statistics of the visualization process between machines and display an overview image for administrators.
  • Supported platforms: Windows (Vista SP2, 7, 8, 8.1, 10), FreeBSD, Linux, CentOS, Red Hat Linux, SUSE, Oracle Linux, Ubuntu, and Debian guest OS

👍 Pros👎 ConsAllows live migration from one host to another.It does not offer advanced features like GPU acceleration.Offers easy backs.It is Native to Windows.Perfect for new developers because of its easy interface and implementation.

Free trial: It is free software

Visit Hyper-V >>

Free Download

7) VirtualBox

Best for enterprise visualization, home use, and developers with hardcore Windows nostalgia.

VirtualBox is an open-source hypervisor for x86 computers. It is one of the best VM software that supports the creation and management of virtual machines. It runs on Windows, Linux, BSD, and others. One of the notable aspects of using VirtualBox is its ability to transfer the virtual machine from one host to another.



  • You can resize the window.
  • This free VM software Windows 10, supports drag & drop functionality.
  • This Virtual machine tool gives you the flexibility to run any application on your PC.
  • It enables you to run several guest windows on the same machine simultaneously.
  • Its seamless mode allows you to run macOS and Windows applications side by side.
  • Supported platforms: Linux, Mac, Windows, Solaris, and OpenSolaris.

👍 Pros👎 ConsMultiscreen resolutions.It does not allow you to run macOS Mojave on a virtual machine using VirtualBox unless you have a Mac.This hypervisor supports 3D virtualization, USB devices, and videos.They also have a great information section with tutorials on the Oracle website.

Free trial: It is free software.



Best for its ability to create virtual environments for multiple architectures and OS for free.

QEMU is a popular emulator and virtualization machine, a short form of Quick Emulator. This system is written in C language, can run apps for Linux, BSD, Windows, and other supported architecture, and supports full system emulation on supported platforms.



  • It is one of the best virtual machine software that supports multiple OS to be run on any system.
  • Offers hardware virtualization.
  • It can be used on any system. No restrictions for the host OS.
  • QEMU accomplishes near-native performance by executing the guest code directly on the host CPU.
  • Supported platforms: Linux, Windows, Mac, Open BSD, FreeBSD, and Solaris host OS

👍 Pros👎 ConsIt is an open-source virtualizer.Not an easy learning curve.It uses the mode emulation.Also supports KVM and Xen at its native performance.It can be used on any operating system.

Free trial: It is free software.


9) Gnome Boxes

Best for Linux virtualization.

Boxes is a creation and management tool used for virtualization. It is one of the best VM software designed for Linux and can help you customize all kinds of virtualization tools.

Gnome Boxes


  • It helps you to find your local and remote virtual systems.
  • Sets your machine preferences and monitors their performance.
  • It offers a safe and easy way to try out new operating systems.
  • This tool allows you to connect to a remote machine.
  •  Boxes share a lot of code with the virt-manager project, mainly in the form of libvirt, libosinfo, and qemu.
  • Allows you to take snapshots and is automatically saved in the list.
  • Supported Platforms: CentOS Stream, Debian, Fedora, Microsoft Windows, OpenSUSE, Red Hat Enterprise Linux, and Ubuntu.

👍 Pros👎 ConsIntuitively set your machine preferences and monitor its performance.Does not have many advanced features.Allows your boxes to have USB device access.It has features like keystroke, clipboard, keyboard shortcuts, etc.Allows you to access, view, and manage the remote and virtual systems.

Free trial: Basic free version.


10) Red Hat Virtualization

Best for enterprise-level virtualization for the cloud-native environment.

Red Hat Virtualization is an open-source software-defined platform. It offers virtualization for Linux and Microsoft Windows OS. It is one of the best free Virtual machine software that offers single management and provision for new VMs, clone existing ones, and see how it all works together.

Red Hat Virtualization


  • Red Hat Virtualization is easy to use, set up, and manage.
  • It is an open-source system, so you can integrate with the systems as per your requirement.
  • Being a community-powered open-source, it delivers a high level of performance to Kubernetes, Linux, and Cloud environments.
  • Red Hat virtualization is easy to use, set up, and manage.
  • Supported platforms: Linux and Windows.

👍 Pros👎 ConsEasy to set up and use.Its customer support takes quite a time to revert you.Cloud-native virtualizationContainerized environment

Free trial: It offers 60—days of Free Trail


11) Boot Camp

Best for those who want to run Windows applications on Mac with ease.

Boot Camp is a build Virtual machine software that comes with your Mac device. It is one of the best free VM software which allows you to switch between macOS and Windows.

Boot Camp


  • This Virtual Machine tool helps you to update AMD graphics drivers for Windows applications in Boot Camp.
  • You do not need to download it externally.
  • It allows you to use the same keyboard for Apple and Windows.
  • You can install Windows 7, 8.1, and 10.
  • Supported platforms: Latest versions of Mac and Windows.

👍 Pros👎 ConsAllows you to update AMD graphic drivers for Windows.It does not support an Apple Silicon Mac (with the M1 chip).It allows you to use the same keyboard for Apple and Windows.This accessible Mac VM helps you use an Apple keyboard or a keyboard designed for Microsoft Windows with your Mac devices.

Free trial: It is free software.


12) Proxmox VE

Best for its computing, storing, and networking features, and that too under a single platform.

Proxmox VE is another platform for virtualization. This free Virtual Machine for Windows 10 helps you to integrate KVM hypervisor and LXC containers and networking functionality on a single platform. It offers an integrated web-based user interface, using which you can manage Containers and VMs, integrated disaster recovery tools, or high availability for clusters.

Proxmox VE


  • This open-source virtual machine platform allows you to manage clusters and disaster recovery tools with a built-in web management interface.
  • It is one of the best free Virtual Machines that helps you combine two virtualization technologies under one platform.
  • Proxmox VE gives maximum flexibility in your production environment.
  • This free VM software offers full virtualization for Windows and Linux images.
  • Proxmox VE can use local storage like (DAS), SAN, and NAS, as well as shared and distributed storage (Ceph).
  • It helps you to create and manage lightweight containers.
  • Supported platforms: Firefox, Chrome, Safari, on windows and Mac devices.

👍 Pros👎 ConsAllows you to use the software and inspect the source code any time you want.It lacks in its ARM architectures support.It always makes a personal contribution to the initiative.It combines two virtualization technologies into a single platform.Using Proxmox VE, get maximum flexibility in your production environment.

Free trial: It is completely free but does offer subscriptions.


13) Kernel Virtual Machine

Best for its full virtualization for Linux on x86 computers.

KVM is virtualization software for Linux on x86 hardware containing virtualization extensions. It offers virtualization infrastructure and a processor-specific module. It consists of a core virtualization infrastructure for different modules, and also you can use unmodified Linux and Windows images on its free virtual machine app.



  • It allows you to run multiple virtual machines running unmodified Windows or Linux images.
  • Hardware and Memory management support.
  • It helps you to do scheduling and resource control.
  • Lower latency and higher prioritization.
  • Supported platforms: Windows, Solaris, FreeBSD, Linux, React OS, and OS X.

👍 Pros👎 ConsVirtualization for x86 Linux environments.As its hardware is centralized, the risk of losing data in case of system failure increases exponentially.Runs on Linux, Illumos, and FreeBSDIt is an open-source

Free trial: It is free software.


14) Citrix Hypervisor

Best for those Citrix Virtual App users who wants to test intensive workloads in a virtualization environment.

Citrix Hypervisor offers virtualization management across your environments. It is one of the best virtual machines for Windows 10 that simplifies your operational management, ensuring a high definition user experience for intensive workloads.



  • It offers a modern digital workspace by delivering apps and desktops to any device from any cloud.
  • Allows an easy and secured environment for users to store, access, and collaborate on large files.
  • Empower users with enhanced graphics workloads.
  • Speed, support, and secure virtual environments.
  • It gives its users robust security.
  • Supports complete cloud optimization.
  • Supported platforms:

👍 Pros👎 ConsOffers Desktop virtualization.Its virtualization process needs to be more stable.Provides Server virtualization.It has centralized VM management.It is a free app for Citrix virtual app users.

Free trial: No, free trial, Contact customer care for pricing



❓ What is a Virtual Machine?

A Virtual Machine is a software environment that emulates a computer system. It facilitates a substitute for a real machine. They mimic computer architectures and offer the same functionality as a physical computer.

💻 What are the best Virtual Machine Software?

Following are some of the best Virtual Machine software:

⭐ What are the common features of Virtual Machine?

Here, are some important and most common features of Virtual Machine:

  • Virtualization allows the creation of a separate computing environment within the same host.
  • It allows providing guests access.
  • A group of separate hosts can be tied together and represented to guests as a single virtual host.
  • The ability to control the execution of guest programs.

👉 What are the benefits of using a Virtual Machine?

Here are some benefits of using a Virtual Machine:

  • You can access the applications or operating systems installed on a centralized machine using virtualization.
  • You can also use virtualization for networking functions, servers, and data sharing.
  • It also helps in stimulating the environment by using one hardware that is also called a Hypervisor.
  • You can use the original machine and one more machine, which is virtual.
  • It offers security options and helps you in keeping your data safe.

⚡ How to set up a Virtual Machine?

Following is a step-by-step process on how to set up a Virtual Machine:

  • Step 1) Download any virtual machine software from the above-given list.
  • Step 2) Install the software on your system.
  • Step 3) Download the .iso file of the OS you want to install.
  • Step 4) Open the installation file and complete the installation of Virtual Machine software with the OS you want to install.
  • Step 5) Now, double click on the .exe file and open Virtual Machine.
Written by Jane